During the 2015 Legislative Session, the Montana Legislature passed Senate Bill 309, legislation that created the Unlocking Public Lands Program and expanded the previous program, Unlocking State Land. The Unlocking Public Lands Program qualifies Montana landowners who border public land open to recreation for up to $3,000 in annual tax credits. In order to receive the tax credit, a landowner must enter a contractual agreement with Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks to allow public recreational access across their private property in order to reach state-owned land, Bureau of Land Management or United States Forest Service property that is otherwise inaccessible. Landowners can receive a $750 annual tax credit per contract, with a maximum of four contracts per year.
This program provides a major benefit to hunters, as well as fishermen, trappers, and others, who essentially have been denied access to landlocked public land. As hunters often identify finding a place to hunt as one of their biggest challenges, Unlocking Public Lands will aid the ongoing effort to retain and recruit hunters.
The deadline to enroll in this program is on Tuesday, March 15. For more information about this program, as well as requirements and application forms,visit the Unlocking Public Lands Program page on the Fish, Wildlife, and Parks website.